“Revitalization at its finest!” 112 brownfield remediation projects in 41 Ohio counties win $192 million to revive community economies

On June 17, 2022, the state of Ohio announced new support for 112 brownfield remediation projects that will help clean up contaminated properties to make way for future community economic revitalization.

This is revitalization at its finest,” said Lt. Governor Jon Husted. “These investments in cleaning up brownfields take blighted properties and turn them into parks, housing, or economic development sites that improve the quality of life for everyone in the local community.

Funds awarded will help to assess and clean up industrial, commercial, and institutional brownfield sites that are abandoned, idled, or underutilized due to a known or potential release of hazardous substances or petroleum. Following site remediation, properties can be redeveloped to revitalize neighborhoods and attract new economic development.

As part of the Ohio Brownfield Remediation Program, the Ohio Department of Development is awarding $192 million for projects impacting 41 Ohio counties.

These properties are vital spaces in our communities, ones that are not only being wasted in their current capacity, but oftentimes are a danger to their local communities,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “Today, we’re reclaiming these spaces for the future of our residents, businesses, and communities.

This $192 million in grant awards includes approximately $187.8 million for 79 clean-up projects and $4.5 million for 33 assessment projects. These grants are in addition to the $60 million in Ohio Brownfield Remediation Program grants awarded in April. An additional $98 million in funds will be awarded in the coming months.

These funds are significant investments in the future of our communities,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development. “By cleaning up these hazardous sites, we’re creating new opportunities for economic growth that will benefit businesses and residents for years to come.

Examples among the 112 projects receiving funding:

  • Belmont County Health Department: $897,460 for the Belmont County Habilitation Center Asbestos Abatement and Demolition Project. Originally developed as an assisted living facility for residents with intellectual disabilities, this 85-bed facility served six counties in Southeast Ohio beginning in 1981. The facility operated as such until the early 2000s, and the building has been vacant since. After remediation and development, the county plans to construct a building to serve as the new home of the county health department and as a county records building;
  • Beacon Communities (Cuyahoga): $1,450,000 million for the remediation of asbestos and lead paint at the Central High School building, which has been vacant since 2013 and is currently a danger to the neighborhood in its current condition. Initially constructed in the 1880s for residential properties, the site was later an ice cream factory in the 1920s, and all structures were demolished by the late 1930s to make way for the construction of Central High School. The building operated as a school until 2013 and has been vacant since. After cleanup, the property will be renovated as approximately 80 affordable apartments for seniors and community space;
  • Half Baked Holdings, LLC (Franklin): $3,113,983 for the remediation of asbestos in the former Kroger Bakery along Columbus’ Cleveland Avenue Corridor. Kroger operated the bakery for more than 90 years until operations ceased in 2019. After cleanup, the building will be a part of the larger Kroger Bakery redevelopment, including residential apartments, restaurant and commercial space, and office space;
  • Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority (Hamilton): $2,443,861.53 for the cleanup of asbestos and lead paint in the Crosley Building, which was built in 1929 and served as the home to the Crosley Radio Corporation until 1946. The site was then used primarily for industrial purposes until it was abandoned in 2006 and later condemned in 2012. The building will be redeveloped as The Crosley, a 200-unit affordable housing project, including commercial and studio space, a rooftop garden, and lounge space;
  • Lawrence County Port Authority: $3,239,250 for the removal and disposal of asbestos-containing materials present throughout the South Point Biomass site. From the 1940s to the late 1990s, various chemical plants producing ammonia, urea, melamine, fertilizer, ethanol, and formaldehyde operated on the property and the surrounding area. After remediation, the site will be available for economic development efforts underway at the Point Industrial Park;
  • Western Reserve Port Authority (Mahoning): $496,000 for the removal of petroleum contaminants and groundwater remediation of CASTLO Area A, which is a five-acre property that was once part of the Youngstown Sheet and Tub Struthers division. After cleanup, the site will be redeveloped as a mixed-use facility, supporting a new retail outlet, indoor sports training, and small manufacturing operations. Site acreage along the Yellow Creek and Mahoning River will become a public park and gathering space for outdoor activities;
  • SP Rotunda (Montgomery): $823,624 for the cleanup of asbestos in the Dayton Arcade’s North Arcade, which has been vacant for nearly 30 years. The North Arcade’s historic buildings make up more than 85,000 square-feet of space and are directly attached to the South Arcade. Once completed, the North Arcade will feature a 91-room Hilton Garden Inn with ground-floor retail and restaurant space;
  • Muskingum County Land Reutilization Corp: $120,000 for asbestos abatement at Munson Elementary, which was built in the 1920s and used solely as an elementary school until 2005. The site has been vacant for 17 years and is in poor condition. Brownfield Remediation Program funds will allow for asbestos abatement throughout the site. After cleanup, the county plans to rehabilitate the property as mixed-income residential units; and
  • Port Authority of Northwestern Ohio (Putnam): $2,571,596 for the remediation of asbestos and the removal of universal wastes at the Display Components Manufacturing Facility. Since 1947, a variety of industrial operations have utilized this site, primarily manufacturing cathode ray tubes for televisions. Operations ceased in 2002, and the site has remained largely vacant with buildings in various states of disrepair. After remediation, some of the buildings will be demolished for public safety, and the remaining 400,000 square-feet will be marketed to industrial users.

The Ohio Brownfield Remediation Program was created with support from the Ohio General Assembly in the current operating budget. Funding for the program is first come, first served with a $1 million set-aside for each county. These new funding awards are the final grants to be awarded as part of the first round of grant funding.

Applications for the next round, which is exclusively for counites that have not yet exhausted their $1 million set-aside, are currently under consideration. All remaining funds not used by counties in the first two rounds will be made available statewide in the third round, which will open for applications on July 1, 2022.

The Brownfield Remediation Program is part of Governor DeWine’s Ohio BUILDS Initiative, which focuses on supporting targeted solutions that impact quality of life, such as water infrastructure improvements, broadband expansion, brownfield redevelopment, the demolition of blighted buildings, and more.

Photo of railyard in Cincinnati by gwav from Pixabay

Learn more about brownfield remediation in Ohio.

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